Chinese expansion into Africa…

China, as most of us know, has been showing a greater amount of interest in Africa over the past few years. The Chinese have been investing heavily in the continent, and trade between the two has jumped significantly. In early 2006, China – Africa trade was up by 39% to £18bn.

Personally I do not know enough about the relationship between China and Africa, or China’s intentions towards Africa… Some commentators – such as International Herald Tribune’s Howard W. French – are very enthusiastic and see China’s growing investment as evidence that Western governments and companies who continue to go on about poverty and aid are missing out on major financial benefits, to China’s advantage.

I think it’s great that China is investing in Africa, but I must admit I am a little sceptical. I know China is also offering aid and loans to Africa…and African governments must be careful not to end up in the same situation as they have with the West who previously came offering ‘development’ money – complete with handcuffs. 

Does the importing of Chinese goods into Africa undermine production of indigenous African-made goods? And what about China’s financial support for Robert Mugabe’s destructive regime and their 2005 pledge to give him money but not interfere in ‘internal [Zimbabwean] affairs’?

A Ghanian government minister today echoed my sentiments, encouraging Africa to avoid a colonial relationship with China. Africa must remember that there’s no such thing as a free lunch and keep the relationship one that is as mutually beneficial as possible.

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3 thoughts on “Chinese expansion into Africa…

  1. I live in Lagos and you would be amazed at the number of Chinese restaurants, the number of Chinese construction companies (even the house I live was built by a Chinese construction coy). Even in Abuja, which is relatively new as compared to Lagos, there are a number of Chinese restaurants.

    They are a reclusive lot but again they converse well in broken English. So yeah, we should be sceptical. They have also gotten a contract to build a railway line. As for Chinese imports, writing up a list of what is brought into Nigeria could go on forever. Like any emerging economy, Nigeria needs to get over its domestic problems and look at the bigger picture. Dodgy elections and kidnapping foreigners we should take note of, but we should keep our eye on the ball.

  2. I think China is something good for Africa, depending on how you relate with them and exploit the relationship – positively as a shrewd economic country.

    It’s more of a threat to developed nations like America and the EU nations. Not necessary to Africa. It’s just that our leaders need to take good advantage of it. The cheap goods issue is sorted in South Africa with good trade limits agreements. That’s one example of positive arrangements, cos after all, we know we need such affordable textiles in our country, but not dumping of such material either.

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